Israel Explained in ‘Education Month’

Published January 24, 2003, issue of January 24, 2003.
  • Print
  • Share Share

An online tour of Masada, visits from kibbutz-based educators and a package of documentary and experimental films are among the highlights of the first Israel Education Month, a national campaign that runs through February 16.

The campaign hopes to attract a new, young, Web-savvy group to engage in Israel-related activities, according to coordinators of the campaign, which include United Jewish Communities, the Jewish Education Service of North America and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

“We want to hard-wire kids about Israel and Israel’s place in Jewish life,” said Benita Gayle-Almeleh, director of the Renaissance and Renewal Alliance of UJC and JESNA.

The campaign’s goals are to attract Jewish youth with a trendy package and to incorporate education about Israel into “the educational life of institutions and individuals,” said JESNA’s president, Jonathan Woocher.

Past efforts to enhance Israel education have tended to be products of individual schools and federations. Israel Education Month, however, boasts plenty of curriculum plans, Web resources and events aimed at all types of Jewish groups, including Hebrew and synagogue schools, Jewish day schools and youth groups.

Once a topic that took center stage in American Jewish classrooms and lecture halls, Israel education’s importance to Jewish life has been diminished as a result of social and historical forces, campaign organizers said.

In truth, “there was a sense among educators that Israel has never received the central place it deserved in the totality of the educational process,” Elan Ezrachi, director of educational programs and experiences for the Jewish Agency’s Department for Jewish Zionist Education.

Others blame themselves for the lack of emphasis on education about Israel.

Marion Blumenthal, chair of the UJC Renaissance and Renewal Pillar’s Task Force on Educational Engagement with Israel, said that “the current situation has revealed our failure to teach Israel in a way that creates meaningful engagement for our students to deal with the core issues of Israeli society, Jewish identity and the relevance of Israel to the Diaspora.

Those backing Israel Education Month met over the course of the past year to discuss methods of rejuvenating educational focus on the Jewish homeland. The group conceived a month-long schedule of programs.

Resource and program offerings can be found at www.israeleducationmonth.org, and educational materials are available in print form for distribution.

Until now, Jewish educators have not focused on “how to make Israel come alive,” Woocher said.

For more information, please visit see www.ujc.org/israel_home.html.






Find us on Facebook!
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.